Blood services in Africa operate at different levels of development from those comparable to the developed world to those operating at a basic level. In recent years, countries have improved their blood services but have found many international quality standards too stringent for most economies in the region. To address these challenges, the Africa Society for Blood Transfusion (AfSBT) has developed blood transfusion standards relevant for Africa.The AfSBT Stepwise Accreditation Standards
The Standards were drafted by an AfSBT Task Team with guidance from the AABB and input from a team of experts. There is one Standard with three progressively more rigorous steps of achievement. The Standards apply to facilities that perform any or all of the blood transfusion process chain activities from vein to vein. There is a guidance document that clarifies and enhances understanding of the requirements of some of the standards.Training and Implementation
There is a training committee, tasked with supporting training for blood services. Piloting of the Standards was done in Namibia and Malawi. Next implementation steps include licensing, translation into French and Portuguese and development of the capacity of the AfSBT to become an accrediting body.Conclusion
Stepwise accreditation programme is relevant in encouraging improvements for developing blood transfusion services. Accreditation standards need to be commensurate with local needs while safeguarding patient and blood donor safety. Training is important in helping blood services to become accredited.